| UK/Ambassador/Iceland |
(Ambassador to Iceland)
|The United Kingdom's foremost diplomatic representative in Iceland.|
The Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Iceland is the United Kingdom's foremost diplomatic representative in Iceland, and head of the UK's diplomatic mission in Iceland. There official title is Her Britannic Majesty's Ambassador to the Republic of Iceland.
The UK's first representative to Iceland was appointed during the Second World War. Until then, Iceland had been a dependency of Denmark and then, since 1918, a sovereign state in a personal union with Denmark, with Denmark handling Icelandic foreign policy. On 9 April 1940 Nazi Germany invaded Denmark and the British Minister, Charles Smith, who had been appointed only six months previously, and his staff were expelled. Immediately, Iceland declared itself responsible for its own foreign affairs, and declared strict neutrality.
To fight the Battle of the Atlantic, the United Kingdom occupied Iceland on 10 May 1940. With the British troops, Charles Howard Smith arrived as envoy to the Icelandic government. Smith died in his post in 1942, and was replaced by Gerald Shepherd (later Sir Gerald) the following year. In 1944, still at the height of the war, Iceland declared its full independence from Denmark.
Although the diplomatic mission in Iceland is not a large one, nor particularly prestigious, its importance during the Cold War was disproportionate, due to its strategic location in the North Atlantic. More crucial to British interests was the string of diplomatic and economic disputes related to fishing rights, which culminated in the Cod Wars.